We make good care better

"At the center of medicine there is always a human relationship between a patient and a doctor."
Michael Balint

Shana O'Marra, DVM
Council - 1st Term

I completed veterinary school and residency training at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and became diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 2010.  After residency, I moved to Colorado to lead the ECC department and internship program at VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital before moving back to Massachusetts in 2013, where I led a private practice ECC Residency program.  As I gained more experience training house officers, I began searching for tools to help my trainees navigate complex client relationships and I stumbled across Balint Groups.  I reached out to the American Balint Society and received an incredibly warm welcome, and found a community where sincere, thoughtful reflection on clinical practice is the norm.  I attended the first of many leadership intensives in Boston in 2018 just before taking the role of Chief Medical Officer at a large non-profit emergency and specialty animal hospital in Portland, Oregon.  It was in Portland that I connected with Jill Romm, RN, LCSW, who mentored me through the credentialing process.  Together, we led a Balint group for veterinary professionals for several years.  In 2022, I helped to launch a new emergency and specialty veterinary hospital in the beautiful Puget Sound of Washington before transitioning to locum specialty service in academic and private practices.

Balint has transformed my own practice and how I mentor students, house officers and early career DVMs.  There are some challenges that are unique to veterinary practice, but the human relationships are still at the core of medicine, even when the patient has fur or feathers.  I became involved with the Society in an effort to give back to a community that has given so much to me and hope to continue to spread access to Balint groups across disciplines.